A few weekends ago an airplane tragically crashed at the San Francisco airport, killing two young Chinese students and injuring over 160 others. The effects of the tragedy reverberated throughout the country as many airports suffered delays and cancelled flights. Of course, the inconvenience of delays may have racked up travel expenses for tourists and business travelers in additional rental car days or hotel room nights, or even lost wages. For the individuals who were actually on the Asiana flight that crash landed, however, medical evaluations and evacuations may also be necessary. Determining whether you are covered is important no matter where you are.
Chances are good that you have a variety of types of insurance: auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, and medical insurance are the most common. The first thing to consider is what the insurance you already have covers. For example, on domestic trips, your regular car insurance may cover most incidents that occur in your rental car and even injuries that occur on the roadways. However, you may still find it worthwhile to shell out the extra cash for rental car protection in order to fill in any gaps or cover deductibles.
Similarly, many credit cards offer some limited travel protection. It is important to determine what is covered by the protection your credit card already offers. Your health insurance may also cover some limited issues that arise or may be extremely difficult to use outside your home state. Medicaid and Medicare do not cover foreign health care. Also, when traveling outside the country, additional concerns may be raised, such as whether you have emergency coverage or evacuation coverage if you need it. Specific travel insurance can cover the gaps in your other insurance. Additionally, by realistically assessing the activities you will engage in or the dangers in your destination can help you determine what types of coverage you may actually need.
It is worthwhile before traveling to review your estate planning documents as well. Your Advance Healthcare Directive and Financial Power of Attorney are up to date as well. Reviewing your estate planning documents regularly ensures that they reflect your current wishes. If you are leaving your children behind or plan to be out of touch for an extended period of time, it may even be worthwhile to discuss with your attorney whether there ought to be an immediate power of attorney given to a family member, which you may revoke on your return. Of course, giving immediate powers to anyone should not be taken lightly and a well-drafted document is essential!
Although your travel, whether for business or pleasure, will most likely be enjoyable and free of catastrophe, it is the unexpected catastrophe that insurance and estate plans are made for! Taking care of these issues in advance can put your mind at ease when you are far from home knowing that, even if something unfortunate happens, whether it is a minor inconvenience or a more significant issue, your family is covered to handle the emergency.
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